Souness in a Rage after Cole Claims He's Being Victimised

Daily Mail (London), March 20, 2004 | Go to article overview

Souness in a Rage after Cole Claims He's Being Victimised


Byline: IAN LADYMAN

GRAEME Souness has launched a hard- hitting attack on striker Andy Cole as Blackburn's season threatens to lurch into full blown crisis.

Furious Souness hit back at Cole after the former Manchester United player accused the Rovers boss of victimising him.

Cole believes he has been forced to miss days off at Souness's instruction and has lodged an official complaint to the Professional Footballers' Association.

But Souness explained he had banned his [pounds sterling]7.5million signing from a recent training camp in Spain for going behind his back.

In addition, Souness said he gave Cole special permission to have a family holiday in Dubai when banned earlier in the season while the rest of the squad trained in Blackburn.

Souness said: 'This has all stemmed from our trip to Spain a couple of weeks ago. We had booked to go to Marbella for four days. It wasn't a jolly, it was a proper training break.

'We knew the weather was going to be bad over here and I wanted to take the players away training in the sun for a few days.

Unknown to me, Andy had decided to book his own flight home on the Tuesday when the rest were coming back on the Thursday.

'He booked that through my secretary. I wasn't consulted about it, neither was my assistant, Tony Parkes.

'I took exception to that and had words with Andy about it. I told him if he wasn't prepared to come for the whole trip then he would be better off at home.

'When Andy was sent off against Southampton earlier in the season he was given permission by me to go to Dubai on a fiveday break with his family while the rest of us were busy training at a cold and wet Brockhall.

'And that's victimisation?' Despite the row, Cole will start at Aston Villa this afternoon as Blackburn look to climb away from relegation trouble. But former Villa striker Dwight Yorke will only make the bench after his training-ground bust-up with Souness on Monday.

Souness, seething after a two-footed lunge from Yorke in a practice match, has urged his side to unite in the battle against the drop. …

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